"Change" is a series of photographs of American quarter-dollars that Ralf Graebner found on the streets of New York City, intrigued by "the metamorphosis of these quarters from looking identical when they were minted to looking distinctly unique after they had been exposed to various harsh environments over time."
View the full screen magazine photo feature then come back and learn how he does it!
He creates these graphic depictions by combining thousands of thin image slices made with a macro lens to produce a "three-dimensionally stitched image." Hard to reckon so here's the full monty on his method:
"I am using a technique called "focus stacking" to overcome two limitations of conventional photography, namely, extremely limited depth of field in macro photography at open aperture, and loss of detail through diffraction when the aperture is stopped down.
In other words, in conventional single-shot macro photography you either have to accept shallow depth of field but good detail where in focus, or more depth of field but overall soft images due to the detail-robbing effects of diffraction when you close the aperture.
What I do instead is take pictures with extreme shallow depth of field (around 1/100 of a millimeter!) but with the highest image quality where the image is in focus, and between each exposure I move the camera in increments of 1/100mm towards the subject. In order to capture a subject that requires 1 millimeter of depth of field with this technique I need to make 100 exposures. These 100 shots are then analyzed by a software that determines what's in focus and what's not, and merges everything into one image with complete depth of field, discarding what's out of focus."
Phew! Not enough for you?
"I repeat this process 30-40 times, photographing small sections of the coin, until all of the subject is captured. These 30-40 focus-stacked images are then stitched together to become the final image. With this technique I capture so much detail that I could create 10' x 10' prints that are tack-sharp. The limitations are merely the maximum width of chromogenic paper available, as well as portability of the prints: more than 7 feet, and I would run into problems getting the prints through regular-sized door frames."
See some that did make it through the door, at Fuchs Projects, 56 Bogart Street, Brooklyn, NY 11206 during Bushwick Open Studios, September 30 to October 2, 2016.
Did you know? A quarter costs 11 cents to produce.